Working in a violin shop, we get a lot of phone calls about violins labeled "Antonius Stradivarius". (How many? Two or three each day!) Excited voices on the other end of the line will haltingly read the label out loud and tell us they just found it an attic, basement, closet, old barn, or under the bed. A lot of these are not-so-well-done factory instruments coming from Saxony and Eastern Europe. An expert can look at these violins and tell what it is before blinking. But some copies are so good they can fool most, if not all, of the "experts"!
Voller Brothers copy of the 1691 'Red Cross Knight' Stradivarius
There is a common misconception that violinists have to start playing at age 6 or younger to get anywhere. Nope. Not true. We have a guy who bought a cello from us, and he started playing at age 70. But unfortunately, people like him aren't the ones all over YouTube. Many aspiring young violinists get discouraged after seeing wunderkind perform; maybe they have tiger parents, maybe they are geniuses (genii?), or maybe they have just a few more years under their collective diaper. Regardless, hope should never be lost! Stephane Grappelli, one of the greatest jazz violinists of all time, was not about that young life. He first picked up a violin at age 12, and his earliest teachers were the mean streets of Paris! By this I mean he was largely self-taught; he'd go and listen to various buskers and copy what he liked.
If you were best friends with Brahms, you might hold onto that relationship through all the ups and downs of life. Not so for violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim. A rift between them lasted for years. And it was only a double concerto that could heal the rift.
Ginette Neveu, noted for her power, intensity, and impeccable sonority, was one of the best violinists of the early twentieth century. To put things in perspective, she beat the 27 year old David Oistrakh at the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition when she was only 15. (Coincidentally, that was the same year that Ida Haendel placed 8th at age 7!)
Ginette Neveu was born on August 11, 1919 in Paris, France, and she began taking lessons from her mother at the age of 5. Only two years later,